Pimms is a great example of brand rejuvenation. For non-Brits, Pimms is an integral part of the British summer, when we have one. You mix it with lemonade and add fruit to it to make a rather yummy long drink. Bit like a fruit punch.
This brand's been around for over 150 years. It used to have a rather stuffy, old-fashioned feel to it. Nice product, shame about the image. But the brand have done a great job of rejuvenating it. Last summer saw value growth of 16% and volume growth of 19.4% according to Talk Retail.
Here's a few nuggets on what they've done well:
1. Focus on SMS = sell more stuff
What I love is the way they focus on driving sales.
- Pure genius is the promotion of the jug of Pimms. This make the drink much more sociable. And it of course encourages volume. Contrast this with the ads from the 1980's which focused on a stylish long drink, but showed people drinking it in individual glasses... feels much less fun, and more of a serious drink.
- They tell you how to make the perfect Pimms, and how to serve it. Sounds basic, but for this sort of product lots of people won't know what to do with it. They have a bottle in the cupboard, but you have to make it top of mind.
- Even the media is planned to maximise sales. Check this out. "A 'thermally activated' radio marketing campaign, which will see the Pimm's advertisement aired when the weather reaches 22°C or above". Cool eh?!
- They anchor on a need-state/occasion by linking in with the summer. And more specifically they have identified barbeques as a key occasion. They even use a phrase drinkers used in converation: "Is it Pimms 'o clock?".
2. Adding some sizzle
The challenge with SMS marketing is to make it appealing and not boring. Pimms have done a brilliant job at this. They tell the story of making a perfect Pimms, but with plenty of emotional sizzle. The TV ad uses characters and a retro 60's style to show the ingredients of a perfect Pimms. The ad is here. Again, they end with the BBQ to remind you of the key occasion. And the end line triggers usage by saying "Its Pimms O'Clock"
3. New channels/occasions
The third thing that is very clever is the way they have used distribution. After 20 years in London I finally went to Wimbledon for the day this year. And I saw first hand Pimms rejuvenation: Pimms and lemonade on draught. Clever stuff. Makes the drink much quicker to serve, so increases throughput. They had single serve glasses ready with fruit, mint and ice. And they could do jugs as well.
In conclusion, the Pimms story is an inspirational example of rejuvenating a brand via a clear target occasion and need-state, activated in a way that drives sales but also with emotional "sizzle". Helped this year I guess by, for once, a sizzling summer... I think those radio ads will have been used a lot this year ;-)
We aint ever going to be in JK Rowling league for sure ;-) But we have got off to a good start, being ranked Amazon's number 1 management book during the launch. We've had other books top the branding section, but never management as a whole, so that's great.
However, what matters more is the positive feedback we've got from the first readers, with 25 lots of 5* feedback on Amazon. Our goal is for a relatively small group of people to really love it and, even more importantly, actually use it. We've no interest in being one of the 70% (scary) of business books bought as a fad and never read!
Here are a few of the quotes we've had so far:
"Every once in a while, a book comes along with enough good ideas and
marketing how-to's that I tell people that it belongs in their marketing
But in the case of the brandgym,
the book isn't just a tool to be included, it is all of the tools in
"I've read lots of brand books hoping to find a set of tools to help
define what it is that makes a company special and found none - until this one. This book gives practical, usable tools
to use, from which to choose depending on the circumstances.Crucially also, the tools focus on building business through brand, not
just building the brand as an artistic / academic exercise"
"Simple to follow and contains practical
case studies and examples which help to bring everything alive. As with
all brandgym books it focuses on a small number of core principles to
help drive growth and deliver the money."
Thanks again for the feedback, especially those people who took the time to leave a review on Amazon. If this tempts you, click here to get a copy on Amazon, who are still offering the half-price launch offer.
Nokia's brand challenge was brought to life during a conference I attended last week. We were given rather cumbersome hand-held devices for doing digital voting. The conference chairman said "Pick up your Nokias and vote." Ow.
In a only a few years Nokia seems to have been left behind. The brand is still the volume leader in smartphones, with a 44% share. But this is down a full 5 pts vs. last year (see below). All the momentum is with Apple's iPhone and Google's Android devices, with shares for these up + 5pts to 15.4% and +8pts to 9.6% respectively.
So, it was no surprise to read
rumours this week that Nokia is hunting for a new CEO to replace
What can we learn from Nokia's problems?
1. Neglecting the "sausage" is suicidal
It seems that Nokia has made the fatal mistake of neglecting the core product sausage, according to a great post on The Prodigal Guide: "An open letter to Nokia CEO, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo: The 10 things you
need to do today to be a contender in the high-end smartphone market". In this post a series of product issues are highlighted by frustrated fans of Nokia, including software issues, lack of memory and quality control problems. [Thanks to them as well for the great image below].
2. Losing out on innovation
Nokia's neglect of their core phone business is bad. But with the right attention, this could be fixed. More worrying is that they've been left behind by Apple and Google as the market action shifted to music and then "apps". In music, Nokia tried to catch up via its "With Music" offer, but this offer was much weaker than iTunes. And the Ovi app store is a pale imitation of Apple's awesome offering, as I posted on here.
3. Lack of leadership
Another issue facing Nokia is the brand leadership they are getting. "Kallasvuo is a bad communicator in a world where his competitors are
Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt and Steve Ballmer," said John Strand, founder
and chief executive of Danish telecoms consultancy Strand Consult. "He is good at selling phones, but bad at selling the Nokia story."
So, a sobering lesson of how a leader brands can lose momentum. Leader brands need to be obsessed with the quality of their core product sausage, lead on innovation and have a brand leader who can inspire and guide the business and stakeholders.
As a registered Apple-aholic I'm biased. But I think they've handled the rumours over the antenna l issues with the iPhone 4 pretty well.
In any tech business stuff goes wrong. In fact, the return rate for the iPhone 4 is lower than the previous 3G model. But, the word is out that there is a problem with the antenna. And in today's 24/7 multi-channel world, once the media get that sort of news story, its a tsunami of negative press you can't stop.
But, you can react.
And Apple have. Fast.
They have launched a free offer of a case for all iPhone owners. Or, you can get a refund. No attempt to spend weeks or months trying to deny there's an issue. Just offer a solution.
And, they have made it easy by creating an iPhone app to choose and order your free case. With one click you order the case, using your iTunes details in the phone.
This is pure genius. You use your cool phone to order a free case, and in doing so remind yourself how well the app store works.
In conclusion, when s**t happens, react, do it fast, and do it in a way which actually puts your product in a good light.
A new launch by Maximuscle, the hard-core sports nutrition company, makes me wonder if they've pressed the "NEW BRAND" button too quickly. They've launched a whole new range for women called... Maxitone.
Now, wherever possible, you should stick to one brand. This has huge benefits for the business, by ensuring focus in building one strong brand, and allowing marketing efficiency (one brand identity, you can do joint advertising and promotion). It also keeps things simple for the consumer: one brand, with different products.
Now, you can see why you need a separate range for women, focused on toning and weight loss, with its own more feminine pack. But why the new, rather hybrid of a brand? It uses the word "Maxi" and the star symbol. Yet its a new brand name.
So, what is the overall "parent brand" now? I guess its *maxi. Mmmm, not great.
The key to getting the right branding on a new product is to consider the stretch from the core brand today.
- Functional stretch: does the consumer believe we can make it?
- Emotional stretch: the personality and feel of the new produc
As the stretch gets bigger you work through branding options.. from a simple product descriptor, to an ownable descriptor (not the dreaded "sub-brand") to a new brand with endorsement through to, the last resort, a new brand.
In this case the functional stretch is small. Women will have seen their boyfriends or husbands using Maximuscle. And I bet the Maximuscle range is already bought by women, who like the authority and performance credentials of the brand.
The emotional stretch is bigger. We want something for strong, confident women, not big, muscle-bound guys. But, this suggests you could have created a new female range from the Maximuscle brand. That way you stick to building one strong brand, with a range for women, and a range for men.
Now, I guess the argument knocked back over the net will be that the Maximuscle brand is, well, too muscle-y, and that women wouldn't buy it. Fair challenge.
But, I'd make two points.
One, its worked for Gillette with their female range of razors, which last time I checked was bigger than the male razor business. As with Maximuscle, women were stealing their guy's product. And they liked the authority and performance credentials of the brand. So, Gillette created a range for them, with more female design.
Second, whatever people say in focus groups, if the product's good enough, they'll buy it. A great product, in a nice pack, with performance credentials, at the right price, in the right shop... then if its Definity from Maximuscle, or Maxitone, people will still buy it.
In conclusion, before you launch a new brand, with the risk of fragmentation of investment and dilution of equity, than think through how big the stretch is. And do it only as a very last resort.
[Guest blogger: Diego Kerner, Managing Partner brandgym Latam, and leader of 360 insight]
After thirty days of shouting, cheering up
and suffering (I am Argentinean!), the 2010 World Cup is over. As football
involves strategy to beat competition, working with teams and of course luck,
I got to thinking that must be some useful learnings for brand teams. So, blow the whistle ref, and let's go...
- Have a clear game plan: interestingly, the two teams that played the finals were both
inspired by the vision of the great Dutch player Johan Cruyff. He revolutionized Dutch football in 1974 and gave birth to the Barcelona style of play today: controlling and passing the ball, managing the midfield and being simple. The same applies to marketing: having a clear game plan about how you are going to win. For example, L'Oreal tend to favour creativity and experimentation, launching lots of things and seeing what works. Reckitt Benkiser favour local reactiveness and speed of roll-out. And P&G are the US Marines: global alignment and rigour.
- Know your rival, not only your
some squads won matches during World Cup not necessarily by playing
better per se,
but due to a smart strategy to neutralize a rival´s strengths or
weaknesses. Marketers tend to put a lot of energy on
consumers insight, but overlook competitor insight. There are some easy
ways to improve in this area. For example, with
one global client we helped understand likely competitor moves in a key
analyzing what they had done in other geographies.
- Play to peoples' strengths: Lionel Messi didn´t shine as expected
in South Africa, mostly because he seemed to feel uncomfortable in the position
where he was played by Argentina. Similarly, it is very rare to find a brand person
that moves comfortably in – for example - very analytical and very creative
challenges. As much as you can, let everyone play to his own talents.
- You need a healthy core to "defend"
your profit: the four teams that made it to semi finals all
had as a strong defense. Many marketers neglect
their core business that "defends" the bulk of its profit) and instead
focus on the excitement of "attacking" new categories though brand
stretch. However, rather than scoring load of goals, growth tends to be
harder, more expensive
or even impossible.
In conclusion, winning in football and business requires a clear game plan that builds on insight into your consumer but also your competition and your own people. And don't forget that defending the core is as important as chasing the goal of new markets.
A very belated post on Virgin Airlines 25th Anniversary ad. Thanks to Ehab from Mars for sending me the info... sorry it took so long to write it up. The ad re-creates the UK of 1984, showing a bevvy of red-hot Virgin hostesses bringing some va-va-voom into the world of flying.
Now, first of all, hats off to Virgin for managing to do an anniversary ad that is red-hot, not deadly dull. This really is a bit of marketing genius. The team who made it had balls of titanium, as they blew £800,000 on the production... and aired it... 3 times. Huh?! How does that work...
Well, let's start with the results, as explained by Paul Dickinson of Virgin:
- ROI was £15 for every £1 spent
- 700,000+ searches on Google
- 100,000 hits on website
- Number of people searching for the Virgin name increased + 500%
- Highest ever rating as an airline for business and leisure
Bloody hell. A really great example of SMS marketing (Sell More Stuff).
So, why was this campaign red hot?
1. Incredibly Distinctive: the red-dressed Virgin hostesses are a dramatic, memorable and they are a highly distinctive bit of branding. They cleverly symbolise Virgin as a more entertaining and fun way to fly. The genius is the way Virgin show this rather than telling us. There is no heavy-handed voice over saying "25 years ago we changed flying for ever...".
2. Brand is the star: I love the way that the brand is totally integrated into the ad. All the drama is on the impact the Virgin hostesses make. There is a clever "side-by-side" comparison to make an ex-P&G man proud, by contrasting the red-hot Virgin ladies with the stiff and stuffy hostesses from another airline. They even have a hard-sell bit of dialogue at the end, introduced with humour so it just slips into your head:
First guy (looking at the luck Virgin pilot): "I need to change my job"
Second guy: "I NEED TO CHANGE MY TICKET"
3. Fantastic execution: this is one of those bits of pure advertising magic where the agency have beautifully orchestrated everything, from the casting to the music to the props to the direction. What is so clever is the way they have re-created so many props of 1984, tapping into the nostalgia factor of many people in their 40's who are now in the core target for business flying in particular. It not only looks back though, its saying to these people (like me): "Why fly boring BA when you could fly Virgin?"
I'm just off to check if Virgin fly to Johannesburg, back in a jiffy....
.... they do!
4. Staff engagement: my guess is that the ad did a great job of engaging staff. Virgin have good levels of staff engagement and retention, even though they pay a lot less than BA. This is because people working there are proud of the brand and service they deliver. This ad must have reinforced this sense of pride, and feeling that they are part of something special.
You can watch the whole ad by clicking below if you're on the blog, or here on youtube.
In conclusion, to create re-hot communication, make your brand the star of a compelling, dramatic story and use brand properties to be distinctive. And be brave and invest in commercial production as it can pay off in the long run.
The topic of what it takes to be a brand leader has proved to be the hottest I've posted on in the 4 years of the brandgym blog. We've had plenty of comments on the posts. And the 2 posts on the Marketing Society blog are amongst some of the most read on their site.
The next stage of our research on brand leadership needs YOU. Please take 5 minutes to complete our survey on "What makes a brilliant brand leader" by clicking here.
Thanks to all the 100+ people who joined in :-)
Watch this space for survey results in September.
We need a minimum of 50 people to take part, but would love to have 100 replies. We've passed the 50-mark60-mark 80-mark 90 mark and only need 4 more 2 more replies
I had an interesting discussion with a brand team this week about creating content, such as advice, tips, tricks and what have you. The marketing director aspired to create his own branded content. An example of this approach would be Pampers. Their website is called "Pampers Village", and has loads of content and tools about baby care: advice from expert panels, a desktop "widget" that tells you what your baby-to-be is up to week by week.
But I wasn't sure this was the right way to go. To help us figure out the best way forward, I suggested the following questions:
1. Is the category and brand interesting enough?
A way of thinking about this is whether you'd want to browse the brand's online magazine. With Pampers, baby care is a highly emotional area. Expectant and new mums have an insatiable appetite for information. And on the brand side, Pampers is a highly trusted authority, who for decades has used expert endorsement as part of its marketing.
In contrast, some brands and categories just don't lend themselves to being a content publisher. I love Hellmann's mayonnaise. But I don't want to read their magazine. Now, you could give advice about food and cooking I suppose, rather than info on the Hellmann's brand. But then is that really going to sell and more mayo...
... which brings us to the second question.
2. How will this help you SMS (sell more stuff)?
In our book, everything should help you sell more stuff. Just saying that being a brand publisher will help make people feel warm and fuzzy about your brand aint good enough. For Pampers, they know they only have mums for a few years. So, they have to get them early, and keep them buying every week. At the heart of doing this is a highly sophisticated data-base marketing approach, targeting coupons and samples at key baby life-stages. Pampers Village is an extension of this. It helps get expectant mums signed up early. And its a way to keep reminding them to buy Pampers every week.
The other way brand publishing works well is for lifestyle brands, where the content can reinforce a sense of prestige and being "a member of an exclusive club". This is literally the case with Nespresso, which is a member-based brand. Their magazine is very high quality, and actually makes interesting reading....
.... which brings us to the third question.
3. Do you have the cash and people to do it well?
Being a publisher is a huge commitment. Because once you've started, you need keep going. When working with Jordans Cereals, we recommended having a person pretty much full time to write the blog, email newsletters and Twitter updates. And, all credit to them, this is what Rachel spends a lot of her time doing. On a much bigger scale, innocent smoothies have an in-house team of about 15 creative people to write all that amazing pack copy on every bottle, a form of publishing.
Now, are you really up for this? Are you prepared to staff up and spend cash to be a publisher, and do it well?
If you answer "yes" to all the above, get publishing. If not, you may be better off being an "editor" of content. You can compile relevant content from other blogs for example. And link up with other publishers to promote your brand. For example, Hellmann's could be a key sponsor of the food section of the Good Living website.